In Support of Obama's Cuba Policy, Gutierrez Acts Like Obama

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
In today's New York Times, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez tries to defend Obama's Cuba policy.

Gutierrez does a poor job defending Obama's policy, but a great job imitating him.

Scouring through the op-ed, there's not a single mention of freedom for the Cuban people, human rights, democratic reform, political prisoners or a reference to the island's courageous dissident leaders.

This op-ed could have been written by Ben Rhodes at The White House.

Who knows? Perhaps it was.

After all, Gutierrez was one of a handful of Cuban-Americans invited to The White House last month, in a desperate bid to build support for Obama's policy.

The White House seems to have fed Gutierrez (on Cuba) the same recipe that Jonathan Gruber fed the American people (on Obamacare).

One thing is for sure -- for Gutierrez to omit the Cuban people's struggle for human rights, freedom and democracy, is not "A Republican Case for Obama's Policy," as his op-ed suggests.

At least it's not a Reagan Republican's case, or that of his former boss, George W. Bush.

After all, Reagan and Bush did not mince words when it came to the freedom of captive nations, particularly for our neighbors in Cuba.

As President Bush clearly stated:

"[Life will not improve for Cubans] if we seek accommodation with a new tyranny in the interests of 'stability.' America will have no part in giving oxygen to a criminal regime victimizing its own people. We will not support the old way with new faces, the old system held together by new chains. The operative word in our future dealings with Cuba is not 'stability.' The operative word is 'freedom.'"

Instead, in his op-ed, Gutierrez praises the government-to-dictatorship negotiations -- which have left the Cuban people out in "the hot Havana sun" and haven't accomplished anything (other than serve as a distraction for increased repression).

Gutierrez praises the visiting Congressional delegations -- who wine-and-dine with Castro regime apparatchiks, but systematically ignore Cuba's democracy activists.

Gutierrez praises American credit card companies authorizing transactions in Cuba -- which (if operational) would finance stays at stolen American properties and the purchase of stolen trademarks (both against the law).

Gutierrez saves most of his praise, however, for the island's "cuenta-propistas," whom he calls "small-business owners"  -- yet they don't own anything. They are state franchises without property or contractual rights.

He praises the exports of tools, supplies and building materials to these "cuenta-propistas" -- even if they must be funneled though Castro's monopolies.

Ironically, those who argue "cuenta-propismo" is a sign of reform in Cuba conveniently overlook the fact that it's not a product of Obama's embrace of Castro on December 17th.

It's also not a result of Castro's "good-will."

It was a result of economic pressure and political necessity.

So why relegate Cuba's democracy leaders in order to stifle reform?

Pursuant to this op-ed, Gutierrez will gain the short-term praise of The White House; of those who seek profit over principle; and of those who seek accommodation over freedom.

He may even earn Obama's nod as Ambassador to Cuba.

But none are worth the price.